Large peace demo in Mannar town

[TamilNet, Saturday, 03 May 2003, 09:40 GMT]
More than 3000 people demonstrated in support of peace in Mannar Saturday, demanding full implementation of the ceasefire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers. At the conclusion of the meeting, a memorandum was submitted to the additional government agent of Mannar. The memorandum states, among other things, that the Tamils and the LTTE have bitter experiences of being “deceived and hoodwinked in many previous peace talks” and that “in the circumstances it is not unreasonable on their part to adopt a policy of caution."

The demonstration and public rally were led by the Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph and were organised jointly by the Mannar Peace Committee and Vaalvuthayam, a civil society arm of the Catholic Church in Mannar.

The demonstration began at 10 a.m. from the St. Sebastian’s Church in Mannar town.

The following is the full text of the memorandum addressed to leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Veluppillai Pirapaharan, Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“We the Tamil-speaking people of the Mannar District assembled here today in thousands wish to submit the following facts for your esteemed consideration.

It is well known that the attention of the International Community is focused today on the peace moves carried forward by you our three leaders President Ms. Chandrika Prime Minster Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe Mr.Veluppillai Prabaharan the LTTE Leader.

We admire and welcome your inflexible determination to put an end to war and find a lasting solution to the 20-year old inhuman war that has destroyed the lives of more than 60,000 innocent people created thousands of refugees, orphans and windows and has irreparably damaged the educational development of numerous children.

The peace process that has gone on smoothly and steadily during the past year with the facilitation and backing of the world community has been filling the hearts of the people with hope and contentment.

History has revealed that search after peace is a difficult and a delicate process. It has to face diverse challenges and its ultimate success depends on satisfactorily tackling such challenges and therefore it must be taken forward with care and caution.

At this stage as a result of the gap of misunderstanding that has arisen between the two parties involved in the peace talks, the announcement by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to withdraw from the Peace talks temporarily has attracted the attention and concern of the lovers of Peace.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are burdened with the inescapable responsibility of ensuring a life with dignity and equality based on the right to internal self-determination of the Tamil people who have experienced only destruction and disaster during the past two decades with nothing at present to lose anymore. The Tamils and the LTTE also have the bitter experiences of having been deceived and hoodwinked in many previous peace Talks. In the circumstances it is not unreasonable on their part to adopt a policy of caution in the present peace Talks. Hence, we earnestly implore the Government to be broad-minded enough to dispel their suspicions and understand their cautious approach.

We also solicit the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who have gradually built up International image and recognition, to temper their approach with tact and wisdom and thereby convince the International Community of their firm desire and determination for peace through political negotiations. In the above circumstances our categorical demands are:
  1. Peace negotiations should be carried forward despite obstacles and obstructions.
  2. Memorandum of Understanding must be fully implemented by both parties concerned.
  3. People want Peace and not war. The path of war should be unconditionally rejected by both parties as means of conflict resolution.
  4. Contribution to Pease by Her. Excellency the President and her Political Party needs to be more meaningful, more sincere and more deep
  5. The aspiration of the Tamils who are endowed with the right to internal self-determination should be met under a Federal Constitution without delay.
The entire Tamil-speaking population of Mannar District assembled here on this occasion as one body, hereby handover our above demands to the District Secretary Mannar to forward same to you for your esteemed perusal and action.”


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